fairlawn: The plan to build a new McDonald’s at West Market Street and Shiawassee Avenue is still upsetting nearby residents, but there’s been no movement yet.
More than 80 residents filled council chambers Thursday night to complain about traffic concerns and parking issues when McDonald’s representatives went before the Board of Zoning and Building Appeals asking for zoning changes.
After the 3½-hour meeting, the five-member board did not approve or deny McDonald’s requests, saying they will make a decision at their April 18 meeting.
The restaurant is asking for a pass on the minimum lot size requirement, approval of a .93 acre lot rather than the code size requirement of 1.5 acres. McDonald’s also wants permission to allow parking spaces to be closer to the street, 6.8 feet from West Market and 7 feet from Shiawassee. The code calls for a minimum 25 feet setback.
Although the zoning code for building lot size changed two years ago, project manager Jim Ptacek of Larsen Architects compared the lot size and number of spaces to other area restaurants that were built under older regulations: Wendy’s, .73 acres with 45 spaces, Skyway, .69 acres with 67 spaces and Ivan’s Deli, .83 acres with 41 spaces.
He noted other new McDonald’s restaurants of comparable size for comparison — Lakewood, .71 acres with 20 spaces; Ohio City, .69 acres with 24 spaces, and Oak Harbor, .66 acres with 27 spaces.
The proposed owner, John Blickle of Rubber City McDonald’s, said the facility would have a dual drive-through, would not operate 24 hours and would employ about 15.
Twenty people spoke in opposition.
Councilwoman Susan Sullivan, who represents Ward 5, said she would agree to another business at that location if the community doesn’t want a McDonald’s because of traffic volume in what some believe is an already congested area.
“I applaud the effort of McDonald’s, but pick another site,” she said. “This is bad planning. The community is saying we don’t want it there. It will destroy the character of the neighborhood.”
Councilwoman Kathleen Baum of Ward 6 chimed in, “If it doesn’t fit the land, deny the plan.”
Zoning chairman Peter Reagan said the zoning board has nothing to do with traffic, and those concerns would be addressed if and when McDonald’s goes before the Planning Commission.
He said the Planning Commission would likely call for a traffic study before making any decision.
“It’s going to be a long process if we continue. It won’t happen until 2014 at the earliest,” said Blickle.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or email@example.com.